A big part of Hollywood woke up early this morning to Oscar dreams of getting an Academy Awards nomination. Some like 12 Years A Slave for Best Picture, Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey and Gravity‘s Sandra Bullock for Best Actress were a lock. Unfortunately, for some others, they’d barely wiped the sleep out of their eyes before there was nothing to do but go back to bed in disappointment at having not made the cut. Once again, the Academy proved there’s still a wild card factor to who will and won’t get a nomination. Having said that, after all the campaigning, all the encouraging words and all the hopes, even against the odds, it still sucks to be one of those left holding a losing hand. Here’s some of the deserving actors, directors and films who were overlooked in today’s nominations announcement by AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Thor himself Chris Hemsworth:
Oprah Winfrey – The former talk show queen returned to the big screen with Lee Daniels’ The Butler in a stellar performance after a 15-year absence and the Academy negates her? The SAG Awards, the BAFTAs and the Critics Choice Awards all gave Oprah a nomination for her role as boozy Gloria Gaines, the Butler’s wife, but not the Academy? What are they drinking over there?
Inside Llewyn Davis - The folksy Coen brothers’ film didn’t get a lot of love from the Guilds but the Grand Prix winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival certainly did warrant one of the 10 possible Best Picture spots.
Robert Redford – He didn’t say a lot in All Is Lost but as an old man battling the sea and a lot more, the Sundance founder spoke volumes in the J.C. Chandor-helmed pic. He won a Gotham Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award and got an Independent Spirit nomination in the process. However, 40 years after Redford last was nominated for Best Actor for The Sting, that all obviously fell on deaf ears with Academy members.
Fruitvale Station – Bursting out of last year’s Sundance Film Festival, this remarkable debut by director Ryan Coogler of the last day of Oscar Grant III on January 1, 2009 was picked up by the Weinstein Company and found fans everywhere – including the White House. Yet nothing for Coolger, nothing for star Michael B. Jordan and nothing for the film – that’s just a crime.
Tom Hanks – Maybe there is a limit to how many Oscars one man can have but the actor’s performance in Captain Phillips as the taken hostage merchant mariner was certainly more than sea worthy of a nom today.
Related: OSCARS: Nominations By Picture
Emma Thompson – Not even a spoon full of sugar will help this bitter pill go down. Saving Mr. Banks was Ms. Thompson’s film. Her turn as the difficult, to say the least, Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers should have seen her as one of the ladies getting that nomination today.
August: Osage County - Yes Meryl Streep got her 18th Oscar nomination for her role as the pill popping sharp tongued widow but there was no Best Picture nor Best Adapted Screenplay for August: Osage County. Some people might not like the truth telling, but those oversights are just plain wrong.
Daniel Brühl – The German actor’s performance as Formula 1 ace Niki Lauda in Ron Howard’s Rush picked up Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG Awards nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Sure he lost out to Jared Leto at Sunday’s GG ceremony but the Academy didn’t even put him on the track today.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler – Coming out in the year of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the hit White House-based Civil Rights drama had a story for our times as well as strong performances from Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Maybe the last film to be produced by Laura Ziskin was too epic, maybe it was too black or maybe the dust-up the Weinstein Company had with Warner Bros and the MPAA over the initial The Butler title rubbed some people the wrong way but the powerful pic deserved better.
James Gandolfini – Seriously Oscars? The late great actor’s performance in the posthumously released Enough Said from director/writer Nicole Holofcener has SAG Awards and Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Actor nominations but you couldn’t see the worth and artistry? Enough Said showed the great range and depth of Gandolfini as an actor, it’s the Academy’s loss that they didn’t decide to recognize that.
Sam Rockwell – Yeah The Way Way Back seemed to come out so long ago (it actually premiered at Sundance last year) but the actor’s supporting role performance in the dramedy was a fresh as the day and the year is long. It would have been a long shot if Rockwell had gotten a nomination but it was a bet worth making and the Academy should’ve made it.
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips gets a nom but the director whose vision it was doesn’t? Nothing new for the Academy but more wrong than usual in this case.
The Grandmaster – Before today a Wong Kar Wai film has never even been nominated for an Oscar. Just think about that for a second – one of the greatest filmmakers of our time hasn’t even made the final list, let alone won. Despite his Chinese marital arts epic being one of the nine finalists for the five nominees for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film, the maestro and The Grandmaster were denied their rightful due. Yeah, The Grandmaster received cinematography and costume design noms today but there is a Foreign Language spot that it should have had.
Scarlett Johansson – She was brought in to replace Samantha Morton as the voice of the operating system in Spike Jonze’s Her after filming had wrapped but it’s hard now to imagine anyone but The Avengers actress playing the challenging computer role. Hard also to see how she could have been overlooked for what should have been her first Oscar nomination.
Blackfish – The controversial and very popular pic looking at the three deaths related to SeaWorld’s Tilikum and the sometimes fatal consequences of keeping killer whales in captivity was left off the Best Documentary list. A mistake.
“Young And Beautiful” - Did an anonymous mailing campaign last year that wrongly claimed the Lana del Ray tune from The Great Gatsby was ineligible for Best Original Song do its damage? Somehow this very eligible song got the silent treatment today.
Monsters University - No prequel love for Pixar this year in the Best Animated Feature category.